Social Justice Commitment
At Counseling Services, we value and prioritize the development of multiculturally-competent knowledge, awareness, and skills for trainees and staff alike. Though much of K-State’s student body appears to hold majority identities, you will find a vibrant diversity presence among our clinical population. Because of this, we recognize the intersection of multiple identities including but not limited to ability status, sexuality, gender identity, race and ethnicity, veteran status, first-generation college student, religious or spiritual identity, socioeconomic status, and international status.
K-State, as a whole, strives to honor each person in the K-State Family through its Principles of Community. For the students, K-State has developed an office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs. At Counseling Services, we know cultural biases exist. We are aware of the unique identity-development needs of minority students. We consider and consult the appropriate guidelines for professional practice set forth by APA to ensure we do not pathologize natural reactions to an oppressive system. To demonstrate our commitment to multicultural competence, Counseling Services implements the following activities:
For trainees only
Diversity seminar meets bi-weekly, all year, to increase interns’ self-awareness of multiple and intersecting socio-cultural identities. This awareness allows an increased understanding of how identities have shaped our worldviews, therapeutic stance, and interactions with clients. Awareness also creates an opportunity to articulate how clients’ intersecting identities influence case conceptualization, treatment modalities, interventions, and treatment plans with culturally appropriate interventions. The seminar encourages interns in Health Service Psychology to understand individual and systemic influences of power, privilege, and oppression. Finally, interns take a leadership role in creating a culturally informed outreach program for a selected group or population through their Social Justice project.
Outreach seminar meets once a month, all year, to deepen interns’ understanding of outreach methods, and techniques. The seminar facilitates the acquisition of skills related to consultation and program development for prevention services to K-State students. Prevention programs help reduce stigma, encourage healthy behaviors, and supply students with tools they can use throughout their academic careers. One task for the seminar is an audience presentation. This presentation helps the intern to select an under-served/under-represented population for targeted outreach. One example includes an audience presentation focusing on raising awareness about Deaf culture and needs. Another task is the Outreach artifact, which is the “physical” item created for Social Justice project.
Social justice project
Imbedded in both the Diversity and Outreach seminars, the Social Justice project is an opportunity for interns to engage in an outreach that is culturally informed and meets the needs of a historically marginalized population on K-State’s campus. The process is year-long and includes enhancing evaluation, consultation, program development, and presentation skills. This project gives interns a self-directed opportunity to develop multicultural awareness and social justice action. Additionally, the project provides interns a chance to educate and advocate about their chosen population to Counseling Services’ staff.
The recommended timeline for the Social Justice project is as follows: Fall semester - orientate to the task, consider your population, and connect with representatives of the underserved group to begin initial work. Spring semester and early summer - Finalize planning for the project, develop and implement the project, all while maintaining consistent communication with your population representatives and the Outreach Coordinator. The end of summer - 30-minute presentation on your project to the staff.
Examples of previous Social Justice projects include: Denim Day, Spanish-language brochure enhancing DACA students parents’ knowledge of college life, campus community presentation on how to fight Antisemitism, and “Breaking the Binary,” an original LGBT+ performance focusing on people’s T/GNC identity experiences.
For the entire staff, including trainees, clinical, and support staff
This group which meets once a month and is made up of volunteers within the agency. The mission of the diversity workgroup is to infuse diversity conversations into multiple facets of the department. To accomplish this, we conduct evaluations and assessments of the needs for agency staff and collaborate to meet the multicultural knowledge, awareness, and skills requests. There are at least two, two-hour in-services presented each year by the diversity workgroup. These are typically didactic and experiential presentations on specific populations or phenomenon. For example, in the past, we’ve presented on topics related to queer folks, sizeism, and intercultural communication. Other activities include “Knowledge at Noon,” where a member of diversity workgroup will host a brown bag lunch, inviting people to join a discussion about a social justice issue. An example of a Knowledge at Noon presentation includes a review and discussion on topics from Code Switch, an NPR program focusing on race, ethnicity, and culture.
Liaison relationships are an option with some offices across campus to serve the needs of diverse student groups. At any given time, liaisons can include connections with the following offices: International Student and Scholar Services, The LGBT Resource Center, Office of First-Generation Students, and The Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education. If you have an interest in a particular population at K-State, but a liaison relationship has not been established, we are happy to help facilitate that connection if appropriate. The expectation is that interested people will work with the Liaison Coordinator to initiate and develop these relationships.
Safe Zone trainings are also an option at K-State. Until recently, Counseling Services hosted the Safe Zone program. Now, Safe Zone is coordinated by the Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs office, where they can put time, energy, and care into the life-breath of the program. Unlike most Safe Zone programs at other universities, K-State’s program educates about the realities of power and privilege to create allies for all oppressed, marginalized, and silenced groups.
Outside of these activities, CS continually reviews and addresses multicultural issues and perspectives daily, from staff meetings to case consultation and beyond. Here at K-State, we work to sustain the conversation throughout our work, not only in the above-designated areas.